Wild Birds

Grey Silky-flycatcher or Grey Silky

Grey Silky-flycatchers (Ptilogonys cinereus)

The Grey Silky-flycatchers (Ptilogonys cinereus), sometimes called the Grey Silky, is a species of bird in the Bombycillidae family.

Distribution / Range

It is found in Guatemala and Mexico and has occurred in the United States. This bird species inhabits subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.


Berries, any small insects, fruits, and vegetables.

Phainopepla have a specialized mechanism in their gizzard that shucks berry skins off the fruit and packs the skins separately from the rest of the fruit into the intestines for more efficient digestion. So far this is the only known bird able to do this.



The Grey Silky-flycatcher nests in the spring. The eggs are dray or pink and speckled, and the incubation, done by both the male and female, takes fifteen days.

The young will be reared by the parents for up to nineteen more days.

Interesting habits

  • Phainopeplas have been found to imitate the calls of twelve other species, such as the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo lineatus), and the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus).


  1. animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu [1]; Accessed 2/25/07
  2. Chu, M (2001) The Condor; The Condor 103(2):389-395
  • BirdLife International (2004). Phainopeplanitens. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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